YouTube: Putting on a Survival Suit

Clip from survival suit video Immersion suits, also called survival suits, have helped saved hundreds of lives, largely because they provide protection from hypothermia. However, the protection of a survival suit is only good if it’s on; and during at-sea emergencies, there may be only seconds to put the bulky items  on. This video shows the proper techniques for donning immersion suits and entering the water.

This video is one of a growing number of short explanatory or information videos on the Oregon Sea Grant YouTube Channel.

Oregon Sea Grant-funded tsunami research featured in NSF “Discoveries”

“One of our experiments found that small seawalls cause a skyward deflection of an incoming tsunami wave, which consequently reduces wave energy and the force on structures directly landward of the wall. … As seawalls are inexpensive and easy to build, they are a sustainable tsunami defense measure applicable for most coastal communities.”

So writes Oregon State University (OSU) graduate student Mary Beth Oshnack in her article, “Building Tsunami-resistant Cities,” in the National Science Foundation’s online news feature, Discoveries. Oshnack has been working with Oregon Sea Grant researcher Dan Cox at OSU’s O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, part of the National Science Foundation’s  (NSF) Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, or NEES.

Prepare now to survive a West Coast tsunami

Pat CorcoranASTORIA, Ore. – Two weeks after tsunamis in Sumatra and American Samoa initiated by powerful earthquakes killed hundreds of people, a growing number of Oregonians are wondering how people living along the West Coast will fare when a large – and possibly overdue – quake shakes our own soil.

“Unfortunately, our fascination with the physical phenomena eclipses our interest in preparing to survive our next big earthquake and tsunami,” said Patrick Corcoran, coastal hazards outreach specialist with the Oregon Sea Grant program at Oregon State University.

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Pacific tsunami highlights need to prepare

The tsunami that struck American Samoa this week – and prompted a brief warning on the Oregon coast – illustrates the need for coastal tsunami preparedness, and how far most of the tsunami-prone world has to go toward developing an effective warning and response system.

This CBS News report on the science of tsunamis includes a good animation of how tsunamis occur, along with commentary by Dawn Wright, Oregon State University geosciences professor. National Public Radio, meanwhile, reported on progress toward preparedness in the seismically active Pacific Rim since the devastating tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004. “The biggest challenge … remains keeping people aware and knowledgeble about this hazard so that they strike, people do the right thing, ” said Charles McCreery, director of NOAA’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

In Oregon, Sea Grant’s Pat Corcoran is among those working to make coastal communities and their residents aware of what to do should a tsunami strike our coast:

For more information about tsunamis and preparedness, watch the Oregon Sea Grant video “Reaching Higher Ground.”

Gear Retrieval Project Creates Jobs

marine-debris-projectOregon Sea Grant’s early involvement with a pilot project to retrieve lost crab pots helped lay the groundwork for a $699,000 NOAA grant that will hire commercial fishermen to clean up 180 metric tons of abandoned gear off the Oregon coast.

The 2009 Gear Retrieval Project, announced last week by NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco during a visit to Newport, will employ fishermen during the off-season. Working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the fishermen will locate and remove discarded crab pots, fishing nets and other marine debris that can  trap and kill marine mammals and fish and endanger fishing activities.

In 2006, Sea Grant collaborated with commerical fishing groups and the Oregon Crab Commission to test whether local fishermen could effectively locate and retrieve lost crab pots. In their first two test runs, fishermen found and hauled in nearly 60 crab pots and more than 600 feet of abandoned trawl cable.

The new gear retrieval project is among $7 million in coastal habitat restoration projects NOAA is funding in Oregon under the  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Read more about NOAA’s stimulus act projects here.

Classes prepare fishermen, scientists to survive at sea

Marine safety class in actionNewport, Ore. – A series of one- and two-day classes offered by Oregon Sea Grant aims to prepare fishermen, scientists and others whose work takes them to sea to survive the worst of what the watery environment can throw at them.

Organized by Sea Grant Extension’s Kaety Hildenbrand and taught by the U.S. Coast Guard, the remaining classes, coming up in May and June, are directed at marine scientists, graduate students, aquarium specimen collectors and others whose jobs take them to sea, but who likely have not had the formal training safety available to commercial fishermen.